When we think of employee safety, we generally think of occupational and industrial safety programs that control hazards and exposures. That is a critical component, but let's take it a step further and consider a holistic approach. Employers can promote injury and illness prevention efforts to advance worker well-being, also known as Total Worker Health(TWH).
HOW DOES WORK IMPACT EMPLOYEES' HEALTH?
Data shows that 36 percent of workers suffer from work-related stress that costs U.S. businesses $30 billion a year in lost workdays.1 Nearly half (44 percent) of working adults say that their current job impacts their overall health, but only 28 percent of those believe it is a positive impact. People with disabilities, in hazardous or low-paying jobs, and those in retail are most likely to say their jobs have a negative impact on their stress levels (43 percent), eating habits (28 percent), sleeping patterns (27 percent), and weight (22 percent). 1
Ann Reskin from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) states how stress can adversely affect employees and the bottom line:
“Stress increases the risk of illness, injury, and job burn-out and unlike other occupational hazards, nearly the entire working population can be affected. The latest research tells us that job stress plays a major role in many chronic health problems, and the evidence is growing. Now more than ever, it's time to learn what can be done to relieve a workforce under stress.”
WHAT CAN EMPLOYERS DO?
Talk to employees about the specific conditions that drive stress in a particular job. Often there is feedback about a harmful or unsafe workplace, understaffing, variable hours, overwork, or expanded responsibilities. Downsizing, inadequate or failing equipment or materials, and a lack of regular and clear supervisor feedback can also be contributors. Engage your employees at all levels so they can be part of the positive changes.
TWH maintains a focus on employee workplace safety and emphasizes the benefits of providing additional opportunities to workers to advance their health and well-being. This ranges from leadership to compensation and benefits to community support and much more. This NIOSH graphic is a great tool for your team to start planning discussions on TWH.
GET STARTED: A FEW WORKPLACE WELLNESS SOLUTIONS
To prevent risk of musculoskeletal disorders, consider:
Reorganizing or redesigning how individuals do their work;
Providing ergonomic consultations; and
Providing arthritis management strategies.
To reduce work-related stress, consider:
Implementing organizational and management policies that give workers more flexibility and control over their schedules;
Providing supervisor training on approaches to reducing stressful working conditions; and
Providing skill-building stress reduction interventions for all workers.
UPCOMING MEMIC WEBINAR THIS MONTH
Looking to learn how wellness and stress reduction can benefit your organization? MEMIC customers are invited to join us for an Employee Safety & Wellness Webinar with Rob Sylvester on Friday, October 20, 2017, at 10:00 a.m. MEMIC clients also have access to the resources contained in the Safety Director along with our video library in our Safety Academy.
Rob Sylvester, CEHT, is a safety management consultant at MEMIC. He has more than 24 years of experience in the health and safety field. During his career, he has worked with a wide range of industries from military, manufacturing, transportation, healthcare, and special needs populations. Most recently, Rob worked with a large healthcare network which encompassed long term care, acute care, and ancillary services in the community.
To read more of the MEMIC Safety Blog, click here.
Be the first person to comment!
You must Login or Register in order to read and make comments!
Disclaimer: WorkersCompensation.com publishes independently generated writings from a variety of workers' compensation industry stakeholders. The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of WorkersCompensation.com.